Improving Workforce Participation for Persons with Differing Abilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s theme, America’s Workforce: Empowering All, recognizes the importance of removing access barriers to increase participation in the workforce by persons with disabilities. Currently, we have more open jobs in our economy than we have job seekers. Just last week, the US Department of Labor announced the award of $19 million for RETAIN demonstration projects to eight state agencies to help keep Americans who are injured or ill employed in the workforce.

RETAIN Phase 1 State Awards

RETAIN is led by the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in partnership with the Department’s Employment and Training Administration and the Social Security Administration. It is based on the premise that timely, coordinated, and effective supports would allow many workers to remain in their jobs.

WorkerFIT is an innovative technology platform for employment applications that integrates functional job analyses, worker fitness exams, and workplace modifications to improve workforce safety and productivity. It was pioneered by ergonomic and rehab professionals to enhance human resource programs that support recruitment and retention of Americans with disabilities. The Functional Job Analysis, Worker Fitness Exam, and Modification modules of WorkerFIT are fully integrated to match workers to the right jobs and implement cost-effective job modifications for workers with limiting health conditions. WorkerFIT recently added a new Provider Search module to support early coordination of healthcare and employment-related supports and services. Providers may be searched based on type of service, insurance accepted, and distance from a location.

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